The story begins, of course, with Old Mill's Victor Thillet. It usually does. And, as his competitors witnessed at yesterday's Anne Arundel County indoor track championships, the story usually ends with Thillet, too.
Old Mill's dominance was as evident as his blazing finish in the 1,600-meter run: Thillet, the defending county and region champion in the event, blew past his opposition. He lapped four runners and finished ahead of second-place Ben Morris, of Annapolis, by a half-length of the track at Baltimore's 5th Regiment Armory.
Winning was that easy for the Old Mill boys team, which captured its second straight county title handily with 89 points. Arundel finished second with 63, and North County third with 55.
In the girls' meet, Annapolis ended Old Mill's 13-year hold on the title. And South River's Melanie Dawson set a new pole-vault record at 8 feet 6 inches.
Arundel's girls gave chase until late in the meet, but a first-place finish by Erin Masterson in the 800-meter run (2: 27.1) and a strong second-place finish in the 1,600-meter relay secured Annapolis' victory. The Panthers, ranked third by The Sun, finished with 79 points to Arundel's 65.
In the boys meet, Thillet's performance in his first race was impressive enough -- he finished the 1,600 in 4: 32.6. But his win in the 3,200-meter run was more interesting. Morris, who Annapolis coach Mike Ballard said "never runs a bad race," led through the first half of the contest.
But Thillet pushed past him after the ninth lap and never slowed. Within moments, his lead grew from a few feet to a full turn to most of the straightaway. And entering the last lap, Thillet startled onlookers by kicking into a sprint as if he had just heard the starting gun. He finished in 10: 10.9, beating Morris by 7.2 seconds.
"He's got a kick, and he knows when to use it," Old Mill coach Bill Hickey said of Thillet, whose victory in the 800-meter run gave him three first places on the day.
Morris said facing Thillet is "like running against a machine. I just keep trying to get closer and closer. Hopefully, one day I'll be able to run with him."
Old Mill's Brandon White added to what seemed like a monopolization: He finished first in both the 300- and 500-meter runs, edging North County's Eddie Mackell in both. White also grabbed second in the 55-meter dash by two-tenths of a second.
Severna Park set the only new boys record, winning the 3,200-meter relay in 8: 28.0.
As much as Thillet fueled his team's boys title, so did Robyn Mincher battle for the Annapolis girls team. Running despite an injured left heel, she took four medals, repeating as 500-meter run champ, and surprised herself with a third in the 300.
"I thought my heel would give me problems, but it never did," said Mincher, who has a full lacrosse scholarship to American University next year. "I was hoping to do well in the 500, but I'm just happy I placed in the 300."
Masterson also claimed the 1,600-meter run to help Annapolis to its first indoor title.
Old Mill, however, didn't lose much ground. The Patriots finished third with 55 points, and Jackie Allen won the 55-meter dash for the third straight year. "She," Hickey said, "is the best sprinter in the county."
Pub Date: 1/22/99